In July 2016 researchers from Italy published the results of their study to assess the effect of flavanol-rich chocolate on cognitive skills and cardiovascular parameters in 32 individuals suffering from sleep deprivation. Initial assessments were made following one night of undisturbed sleep and again following one night of total sleep deprivation. The individuals then consumed either a high or low flavanol chocolate bar following which the assessments were repeated. Results showed that sleep deprivation increased blood pressure levels. However, there was a greater decrease in these higher levels following the consumption of a high flavanol chocolate bar than following a low flavanol chocolate bar. In addition, sleep deprivation also impaired flow-mediated dilation which was counteracted by the high flavanol but not the low flavanol chocolate bar. High-flavanol chocolate also preserved working memory accuracy in women after sleep deprivation.
Grassi D et al. Flavanol-rich chocolate acutely improves arterial function and working memory performance counteracting the effects of sleep deprivation in healthy individuals. J Hypertens. 2016 Jul;34(7):1298-308